The best TV shows airing in 2020

From returning Doctor Who and Last Tango in Halifax to new series with David Tennant, Keeley Hawes and more, here's the best of 2020 TV

Best TV shows 2020

2020 is shaping up to be a year jam-packed with terrific telly. There are some much-missed returning shows, from Doctor Who to Last Tango in Halifax, plus some cracking running series (expect more Killing Eve, Gentleman Jack and Endeavour).

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Plus, those TV bigwigs have been cooking up a host of exciting new series and one-offs for us to enjoy. There’s an adaptation of Sally Rooney’s bestseller Normal People, David Tennant’s new Channel 4 series Deadwater Fell, and Keeley Hawes’ return to the force in ITV factual drama Honour.

Read on for a full list of the best TV to look forward to in 2020:


Happy Valley series 3

Channel: BBC1

Air date: TBC

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley
Happy Valley series 3 on BBC1

The long-awaited third series of Sally Wainwright’s Bafta-winning crime drama had previously been expected to finally air in 2019, however it’s looking more likely to hit screens in 2020, with Sarah Lancashire reprising her role as no-nonsense copper Catherine Cawood. Read more


Last Tango in Halifax season four

Channel: BBC1

Air Date: TBC

last-tango-derek-jacobi

Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire and Nicola Walker will all return for four more episodes of the much-loved comedy drama, written by Sally Wainwright. The Bafta-winning drama tells the story of former childhood sweethearts Celia and Alan who have rekindled their relationship later in life, as well as following the lives of their respective grown-up daughters. Read more


His Dark Materials

Channel: BBC1

Air date: TBC

(Getty)
His Dark Materials on BBC1

The BBC screen adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy stars James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin Manuel Miranda and is written by Harry Potter and The Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne. Despite originally being expected to land in 2019, it’s looking more likely that it will have a 2020 release date. Read more


Glass Houses

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

Glass Houses

The Vicar of Dibley star Dawn French is set to play a dangerous village gossip in Glass Houses. Her character Maggie Connors is a busybody who gives an indiscreet interview to a local radio interviewer that sparks off a series of unexpected happenings in the fictional town of Thurlbury. Read more


Doctor Who series 12

Channel: BBC1

Air date: TBC

17009053-low_res-doctor-who

Jodie Whittaker and her Doctor Who team will be back in 2020 for another series of adventures on the BBC. Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill are all set to return, and reports suggest that actor, writer, presenter and general polymath Stephen Fry also has a role in an upcoming episode… Read more


Jan 22nd 

Channel: BBC2 

Air date: TBC

Netflix's Our Planet Royal World Premiere, London, April 2019. (L-R) Michaela Coel

Created by and starring Michaela Coel of Chewing Gum fame, Jan 22nd promises to be a “provocative” series exploring the question of sexual consent in today’s world, where gratification is only a dating app away. Read more


Normal People

Channel: BBC3

Air date: 2020

Sally Rooney Normal People (Getty)

Sally Rooney is adapting her critically acclaimed novel Normal People for BBC3. The modern love story chronicles the romance between Marianne and Connell – both from a small Irish town, but from very different backgrounds – whose relationship is tested at various junctures in their lives. Read more


Outlander series 5

Channel: Amazon Prime

Air date: early 2020

Outlander Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe were auditioned together in what is known as a 'chemistry read' (STARZ)

Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe will reprise their roles as the beloved Jamie and Claire in a fifth series of Outlander, which will see the pair facing new challenges, adversaries and adventures as the show delves into American history and continues the story of the Frasers settling in the New World. Read more


LIFE

Channel: BBC1 

Air date: 2020  

LIFE is an “epic story about seemingly ‘ordinary’ people who turn out to be anything but” from the writer of Doctor Foster, Mike Bartlett. Set in a divided house in Manchester, it brings together four stories from different flats to tell a bigger tale about what happens when people step out of their own personal space and take a closer look into the lives of others. Read more


The North Water 

Channel: BBC2

Air date: 2020

Jack O'Connell

Jack O’Connell and Colin Farrell lead the cast of The North Water, a four-part thriller based on the critically acclaimed novel by Ian McGuire. The 1850s-set survival series, which takes place in the UK and the ice floes of the Arctic, tells the story of Patrick Sumner (O’Connell), a disgraced ex-army surgeon who finds himself on an ill-fated journey with a murderous psychopath (Farrell). Read more


The Singapore Grip  

Channel: ITV

Air date: 2020

GettyImages-1128316790

The Singapore Grip, starring David Morrissey and Luke Treadaway, is a new drama from the makers of Poldark adapted from JG Farrell’s 1978 novel of the same name. The show will follow a British family living in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion during the Second World War. Read more


Belgravia

Channel: ITV 

Air date: 2020

First look image from Belgravia

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes is adapting his novel Belgravia into a six-parter starring Tamsin Greig and Harriet Walter. The 19th century-set drama revolves around the Trenchard family who attend a ball hosted by the Duchess of Richmond on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, sparking a series of events that will have consequences for decades to come in London’s wealthiest neighbourhood. Read more


The Serpent

Channel: BBC1

Air date: TBC

Tahar Rahim

Set in the 1970s, French actor Tahar Rahim will play notorious serial killer Charles Sobhraj who became the chief suspect in a spate of unsolved murders of young Western travellers in India, Thailand and Nepal. Read more


Flesh and Blood

Channel: ITV

Air date: 2020 

Imelda Staunton (Getty)

Family drama Flesh and Blood is the modern story of three adult siblings – Helen, Jake and Natalie – whose lives are thrown into disarray when their recently widowed mother Vivien reveals she’s fallen for a new man. The drama is written by The Long Song’s Sarah Williams and stars Imelda Staunton and Russell Tovey. Read more


Deadwater Fell

Channel: Channel 4 

Air date: 2020

David Tennant (Getty)

Daisy Coulam, the creator of Grantchester, is back with a new four-part crime drama starring Doctor Who’s David Tennant. The drama will examine the “notion of evil” and will follow two families in the aftermath of the murder of three children and their mother, looking at the ripple effect of the crime in the local community. Read more


The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe

Channel: BBC

Air date: 2020

Marilyn Monroe (Getty)

The BBC is set to explore the final months of Marilyn Monroe’s life in a new drama series written by Trust Me screenwriter Dan Sefton. The show will trace the run-up to Monroe’s death at the age of 36 from an overdose of sleeping pills. Read more


Call the Midwife

Channel: BBC1

Air date: 2020

Call the Midwife

The midwives of Poplar return for another series (plus a 2019 Christmas special) which starts in January 1965 with the funeral of Winston Churchill, and sees Nonnatus House “entering a bold and innovative era”. And there’s good news for Midwife fans – the drama has been green-lit for a further two series so will be on our screens until at least 2022. Read more


Killing Eve series 3

Killing Eve s2

Killing Eve will return to screens in 2020 with a new female showrunner at the helm: Suzanne Heathcote. But who will be reprising their roles? Well, it largely depends who survives series two… Read more


Our Girl

Channel: BBC1

Air date: 2020

Michelle Keegan returns as army medic Georgie Lane for a fourth series as she heads back to Afghanisatan, the scene of fiancé Elvis’s death. 2 Section will also be back – but missing a few familiar faces this time. Read more


The Pale Horse

Channel: BBC1

Air date: TBC

pale-horse-cast

And Then There Were None and Ordeal by Innocence writer Sarah Phelps tackles her next Agatha Christie tale – The Pale Horse –  set in 1961 and centring around the character of Mark Easterbrook, a man whose name appears on a mysterious list found inside the shoe of a dead woman. Read more


The Bay series 2

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

Morven Christie as Detective Sergeant Lisa Armstrong in The Bay
The Bay on ITV

The Bay, penned by the Being Human writer Daragh Carville, is a crime story rooted in the families and communities of a coastal town. Morven Christie is expected to return as Family Liaison Officer Lisa Armstrong for season two, with a whole new case to crack. Read more


Gentleman Jack series 2

Channel: BBC1

Air date: TBC

Suranne Jones and Sophie Rundle in Gentleman Jack (BBC, EH)
Gentleman Jack on BBC1

Suranne Jones will be back to bring the remarkable story of Anne Lister to life in a second series of the period drama, which was recommissioned after just two episodes of the first season had aired. Read more


Honour

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

(Getty)

Honour is a new two-part factual drama based on the true story of 20-year-old Londonder Banaz Mahmod, who was murdered by her family for falling in love with the wrong man. Keeley Hawes will star as the lead detective on the case. Read more


Unforgotten

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

Unforgotten, ITV/ MAINSTREET PRODUCTIONS/DES WILLIE

DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) dig into another historic crime in this critically acclaimed series from writer Chris Lang. Read more


Tin Star series 3

Channel: Sky

Air date: TBC

Tim Roth in Tin Star

Sky Atlantic’s “epic thriller” Tin Star is set to return for a third and final season – this time set in the UK as the Worth family “confront their menacing past” in Liverpool. Read more


Salisbury

Channel: BBC2

Air date: TBC

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov give interview to Russia Today

The poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal on British soil sent shockwaves around the world – but at the epicentre of the story was the city of Salisbury. This two-part drama will tell the story “of how ordinary people reacted to a crisis on their doorstep, displaying extraordinary heroism as their city became the focus of an unprecedented national emergency.” Read more


All Creatures Great and Small 

Channel: Channel 5

Air date: TBC

All Creatures Great and Small' cast members Rebecca Smith, Christopher Timothy, Lynda Bellingham and Oliver Wilson. January 1988. (Getty Images)
Channel 5 is teaming up with US broadcaster PBS for a six-part remake of the iconic comedy-drama based on James Herriott’s memoirs, tying in with the 50th anniversary of the publication of his books. Read more

Innocent

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

Lee Ingleby in Innocent

Chris Lang’s tense drama returns but with an entirely new story and characters. Once again, it will revolve around a central conceit – is its main character innocent or not? Read more


Grantchester

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

Tom Brittney, Grantchester (ITV)

James Norton may have gone, but his replacement – Tom Brittney’s motorcycle-riding Reverend Will Davenport – is returning for another season of Grantchester. Read more


Death in Paradise

Channel: BBC1

Air date: early 2020

Ardal O'Hanlon Death in Paradise

Ardal O’Hanlon’s DI Jack Mooney is due back in paradise at the start of the year to solve another batch of eccentric crimes and give us all some serious Caribbean holiday inspo. Read more


Endeavour series 7

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

endeavour_episode1_21_0

Shaun Evans is returning as young Inspector Endeavour Mose, in a seventh series by writer Russell Lewis. Read more


This is Going to Hurt

Channel: BBC2

Air date: TBC

Adam Kay, This is Going to Hurt (Getty)

Former junior doctor Adam Kay has adapted his bestselling memoir into an eight-part series charting his fraught – and often hilarious – experiences of working in the NHS. Read more


Cold Feet

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

Cold Feet s 8 cast Cropped

Stars James Nesbitt, Hermione Norris, Robert Bathurst, Fay Ripley and John Thomson are all set to return to Manchester for a ninth series of the long-running comedy drama. Read more


Sitting in Limbo

Channel: BBC1

Air date: TBC

BRITAIN-JAMAICA-COMMONWEALTH-SUMMIT-IMMIGRATION-WINDRUSH

Novelist Stephen S. Thompson has based this drama on the real-life story of his brother Anthony Bryan and the Windrush immigration scandal. Anthony had lived in the UK since he was eight years old – but when he decided to obtain a passport and visit his mother in Jamaica, he learnt that there was no record of him as a British Citizen. Read more


Russell T Davies’ 1980s AIDS drama 

Channel: Channel 4

Air date: Summer 2020

Russell T Davies

Former Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies will explore the lives of three young gay men affected by the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin arrive in London with “hope and ambition and joy” but walk straight into “a plague that most of the world ignores.” Read more


Tenacity

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

Nuclear submarine HMS Vengeance

Adapted from JS Law’s debut novel, Tenacity sees a Navy sailor discovered dead aboard a nuclear submarine. A military detective is sent to investigate and it soon transpires that the death was no accident… Read more


Little Birds

Channel: Sky Atlantic

Air date: TBC

Juno Temple

Inspired by Anais Nin’s collection of erotic short stories, Juno Temple stars as an American debutante who travels to 1950s Tangier in the hopes of finding a more unconventional life. Read more


Alan Partridge’s travelogue series

Channel: BBC1

Air Date: TBC

This Time With Alan Partridge
This Time With Alan Partridge (BBC)

A follow-up to This Time With Alan Partridge, the much-loved comedy character’s next (as-yet untitled) series is described as a motor travelogue series, and will follow Partridge as he drives around Britain and meets various new characters. Read more


Best Interests

Channel: BBC1

Air Date: TBC

Getty, TL
Getty, TL

BAFTA-winning screenwriter Jack Thorne pens a brand new four-part drama series, following a couple who must fight for their daughter’s survival — even if they don’t know whose best interests that might fulfil. Read more


The Handmaid’s Tale season four

Channel: Channel 4, Hulu

Air date: TBC

The Handmaid's Tale, Channel 4 press

Hulu’s Golden Globe and Emmy-winning adaptation starring Elisabeth Moss returns for a fourth season, set in a dystopian future version of the United States. Read more


The New Pope

Channel: Sky Atlantic

Air date: TBC

The New Pope

Paolo Sorrentino returns with his follow-up to The Young Pope, starring Jude Law, as he reprises his role as Lenny Belardo, alias Pius XIII, the first ever American pope, while John Malkovich plays his potential successor. Read more.


I Hate Suzie

Channel: Sky Atlantic and NOW TV 

Air date: TBC

Billie Piper

Doctor Who favourite Billie Piper reunited with Secret Diary of a Call Girl writer Lucy Prebble to co-create an original Sky drama aabout a star on the wane, whose world is turned upside down after her phone is hacked and an image of her in a “compromising position” is leaked. Read more.


Quiz

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

Quiz Helen McCrory and Michael Sheen (Getty)

The drama is set to explore Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’s infamous coughing scandal, and stars Matthew Macfadyen, Fleabag star Sian Clifford, Helen McCrory and Michael Sheen. Read more.


Because the Night

Channel: ITV

Air date: TBC

Neil Cross image

Luther creator Neil Cross has penned a dark new four-part series for ITV, featuring murder — and possibly ghosts. Read more.


Father Brown

Channel: BBC1

Air-date: TBC

Father Brown

Harry Potter’s Mark Williams is back as the crime-solving priest for an eighth season of the immensely popular daytime series. Read more.


Small Axe 

Channel: BBC1

Air date: TBC

18809675-high_res-small-axe

Oscar-winning writer and director Steve McQueen is bringing an anthology of hour-long stories about London’s West Indian community to BBC1, with Black Panther’s Letitia Wright and Star Wars’ John Boyega joining the starry cast. Read more.


Roadkill

Channel: BBC1

Air date: TBC

Hugh Laurie
Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

Hugh Laurie (The Night Manager) plays a self-interested Conservative minister whose life — both public and private — is falling apart, but whose eye remains on the ultimate political prize as he attempts to out-run his past. Read more.


The Trip to Greece

Channel: Sky1

Air date: TBC

Programme Name: The Trip - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. Episode 4) - Picture Shows: (L-R) Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan - (C) Revolution Films - Photographer: Ciro Meggiolaro
Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan pack their suitcases once again, this time for a tour around the Greek islands. Expect plenty of moussaka, tzatziki, feta and bickering… Read more

Ghosts

Channel: BBC1

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Air date: TBC

Programme Name: Ghosts - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Thomas Thorne (MAT BAYNTON) - (C) Button Hall Productions - Photographer: Mark Johnson
The BBC’s dead funny (sorry) sitcom has been recommissioned for another series following a group of squabbling spirits haunting crumbling country pile Button House. From the team behind Horrible Histories, it stars Mathew Baynton, Charlotte Ritchie, Kiell Smith-Bynoe and more. Read more